CABARET season is setting in on Adelaide bringing jazz and pizazz back to our lives for a month. And apart from the showstoppers and sequins, cabaret means just one thing: time for an indulgent pre-show tipple at the city’s best cocktail and wine bars. We’ve called on Cabaret Fringe festival starlet and GLAM gal-gone-bad-made-good Candy Chambers to help us with her top spots to get you into the song and dance mood.
Maybe Mae – This gem may be well hidden but it’s certainly no secret. The speakeasy style bar has swinging 60s music, intimate booths and sophisticated style that is topped only by its scrumptious cocktail menu. Candy says: “Darlings, I can’t drink coffee anymore; caffeine is a dangerous drug. But I’d risk it all on an espresso martini here!”
Chihuahua – One of the major players in Adelaide’s bustling small bar scene, Chihuahua brings colour and craziness to Peel Street, just like a cabaret star to the stage. It has flowers a plenty and frivolous flair and is a cosy place for a glass of pre-show Prosecco. Candy says: “Is this a small bar, or an adorable little dog? Either way it’s just gorgeous!”
Apothecary – Like a gin martini, Apothecary 1878 is a classic staple of Adelaide’s nightlife. It oozes elegance and charm while showcasing its unique provenance as a pharmaceutical hotspot in the cabinets and décor around. And a little “imbibing” is just what the doctor ordered. Candy says: “I think there’s a little magic in these bottles… they make me even more beautiful than before, if that’s possible.”
La Boheme – not only one of the city’s premier cocktail bars, also the home of the Cabaret Fringe festival. You will be hard pressed to get a seat during June, but if you do, be sure to sidle up to the bar staff and ask for their cocktail recommendation. Candy says: “Ah, this feels like home. La Boheme has all the liquor a lady needs.”
Loft – The venue is anything but small, yet it is well appointed to create private nooks and hidden corners for a little discussion and debauchery post-show. Lose yourself away from the chaos of Gouger St and sip on a drink with your special company. Candy says: “Fringing and mirrors and downlights, oh my! It looks just like my bedroom.”
La Buvette – The best of France has joined the best of Adelaide to create a Parisian wine bar experience here in the southern hemisphere. Inviting and intriguing, this drinkery is as authentic European street culture as you will get. Candy says: “Just add some feathers and I’m at the Moulin Rouge! But my adult entertainment days are behind me, I swear.”
Taxpayer – Its intimate and cosy interior defy the central city location of Taxpayer. Here you can be well fed and watered before a long night out on the town chasing chanteuses and charmers on the cabaret stage. Candy says: “What a pleasant surprise – I never thought I could like anything tax related.”
Treasury – Often overlooked, the Treasury is an elegant stalwart where wine and cocktails meet for after-work drinks, get a little rowdy and then disappear into the night. Candy says: “It’s almost as beautiful as me, darling. Chic and classic.”
Casablabla – If you like beige, Casablabla is not for you. The multicultural emporium is a riot of activity, music, flavours and fashion from all around the world. It will certainly provide a pre-show show on the weekend when crowds are pumping and dancing is the status quo. Candy says: “Oh yes, darling, this is like a Miss Universe pageant in a bar. A place for everyone with a little glitter.”
Cork Wine Cafe – Feeling hot and steamy after the cabaret? Head to Cork for a private moment over an exclusive drop. Candy says: “This is a place to fall in love… isn’t that what every 50-something girl is looking for?”
Candy Chambers is back to enchant all her faithful Adelaide fans and entice new admirers with 50 Forever! – the philosophies and wisdoms of a Chattanooga chanteuse. See our review of her show here.
See 50 Forever! Nexus Arts theatre, Friday 19 June (9pm) & Sunday 21 June (7pm). Tickets here.